Princess and the Peas

by Rachel Himes

Ma Sally is the best cook in the county and is especially known for her delicious... read more

Ma Sally is the best cook in the county and is especially known for her delicious black-eyed peas. Ma Sally decides that whomever her son John wants to marry, she’ll have to be as good at cooking black-eyed peas as she is. John is much admired around town for his kindness, especially by Miss Hannah, Miss Hattie, and Miss Harriet. Unfortunately for all three, they’re terrible cooks. It’s Princess, new to town, who impresses. Her peas are even better than Ma Sally’s. But she’s not so sure about marrying. “I like John well enough, but I’ve got my own plans. How about this—dancing Saturday at the juke joint?” She also makes clear she expects John to help clean up the dirty pots and pans. A fresh telling of a classic tale is followed by a note in which the author-illustrator discusses how the original never made sense to her (who can possible feel a pea under a mattress?) and also that she chose to set this story in an African American community in the South in the mid-1950s. Her desire to showcase love, family, and community is supported by a lively narrative and naïve-style illustrations in which details make for a vibrant sense of time, place, and characters. (Ages 4-8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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